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Basketball Daily Dose

Dose: Harden Making MVP Push

by Aaron Bruski
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

It was a quiet night in the Association with just five games, two of them blowouts, and a terrible Lakers-Nuggets nightcap. James Harden continued his MVP push in the early TNT game with 40 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, but I'm nowhere near trying to handicap that race. 


Big Wednesday should be plenty exciting with 12 games and there will be all sorts of random lines with all the pre-All Star absences.  All in all, the hope is that your guys just get through this one night, get their legs underneath them, and get ready for the last third of the season. 


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Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $400,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $50,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here's the FanDuel link.




James Harden 40 3 12 9 3 1 5 56.5% The Rockets look pretty good w/out Dwight.
Ty Lawson 32 1 3 16 2 0 2 60.0% Denver may be in disarray, but not Lawson.
Tony Snell 24 4 2 2 1 0 0 81.8% Good for him, but not enough to make an add.
Pau Gasol 26 0 16 3 0 0 1 73.3% Those benchings with the Lakers look silly.
Jodie Meeks 18 0 3 1 3 1 0 50.0% He's a free throw machine this season (94.4%)
Eric Bledsoe 32 2 4 4 2 1 3 47.4% Welcomes a child into the world with big night.
Mason Plumlee 15 0 14 1 3 0 1 60.0% Floating on too many waiver wires.
Derrick Rose 23 1 1 7 2 1 0 58.8% Beat up on a really bad Kings team.
Courtney Lee 15 2 1 3 2 1 0 60.0% Sneaky low-end value in 14-team leagues.
Zach Randolph 19 1 8 1 3 0 1 52.9% A pleasant surprise this season.




Joe Johnson 11 0 8 4 0 1 5 38.5% Inefficient, high-turnover line.
Jordan Clarkson 7 1 1 7 0 0 1 27.3% Hang tight, he's still a solid top-100 value.
Kenneth Faried 2 0 5 0 1 0 0 20.0% Trade or new coach please. Signed, owners.
Arron Afflalo 6 0 0 2 0 0 1 37.5% Firmly on the trade block. Sell if you can.
DeMarcus Cousins 15 0 8 8 0 1 2 33.3% High-volume inefficiency + a leaky roof.
Marcus Morris 3 0 3 1 1 0 1 12.5% 2nd straight dud after 34-point night.
Lance Stephenson 0 0 3 4 0 0 5 0.0% The struggle is real.
Ramon Sessions 3 0 1 2 0 0 2 16.7% The Monstars stole his talent. Only explanation.





Jimmy Butler (shoulder): Will get an MRI and we’ll be watching this closely.  For what it’s worth this has lingered and owners shouldn’t summarily rule it out as All Star break related, even if it may turn out that way. 


Terrence Jones (flu): Even if this was to give him a day off due to struggles, it’s early enough to where owners should be patient especially this close to the break.


Jrue Holiday (leg): There is no information coming out locally and the last report there is that he *could* come back after the All Star break.  Only the folks in the know have the answer here because New Orleans has a history of stringing folks along on major injuries and this is to Holiday’s bad leg. 


We’re going to do the rest of the injuries quick hitter style here because of the All Star break:


Carmelo Anthony (knee): The shutdown clock is ticking rapidly.

Draymond Green (ankle): Said to KNBR that his ankle is feeling great, may still be rested Wednesday.

Jarrett Jack (hamstring): Said he could have returned last night, questionable for tonight.

James Harden (elbow): He has a little Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade in him with the theatrics.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles): Survived a tweak and the break is perfectly timed. 

Derrick Williams (ankle): Tripped over a cord, rhythmically interpreted the Kings’ season.

Alex Len (ankle): If it were a playoff game he could have played last night. 

Chris Kaman (ankle): Not enough upside to hold tightly in standards, but the break should help him.

John Wall (ankle): Re-sprained his ankle on Monday, doesn’t sound serious at all. 

Dwyane Wade (hamstring): Out through the All Star break, prime shutdown candidate.

Ryan Anderson (elbow): Out on Wednesday, we’re not clear if the injury is serious.

Anthony Davis (shoulder): Questionable for Wednesday’s game, Pellies need wins.

Monta Ellis (hip): Doubtful for Wednesday’s game. Check into J.J. Barea and Devin Harris.

Tyson Chandler (ankle): Out Wednesday. Bet your house on Charlie Villanueva (don’t do this).

Bradley Beal (toe): Out Wednesday. Rasual Butler a sneaky play in DFS.

Kris Humphries (back): Missed practice, Nene could also buy a day of rest though no injury reported.


For more injury news check out our injury page.




Eric Bledsoe returned to action after a personal absence (baby) and wasted no time getting on track with 32 points, two threes, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block. 


Mike Dunleavy (ankle) returned to action after about a month off and posted just five points, one three, one rebound and three assists in 24 minutes.  Tony Snell had a huge game with a career-high 24 points, but all of this comes against the Kangz and that means it’s hard to put much value on any of this.  Dunleavy has been a low-end value in the past but owners shouldn’t be racing to the wire to get him.  However, his return will help the Bulls immensely and I’d look for them to start making waves again. 


Rudy Gay (foot) returned and I saw him get hurt two games ago but with all the shenanigans at a management level I wouldn’t blame him if he took a night off.  Regardless, he’s back. 




Mason Plumlee has been pretty quiet lately and I’ve been seeing him on some waiver wires, which doesn’t make sense because his current situation is pretty good and it only stands to get better if Brook Lopez or Kevin Garnett gets hurt and/or traded.  He scored 15 points with 14 rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes and he’s a must-own guy in my book. 


Jodie Meeks (18 points, three rebounds, three steals, no threes) hasn’t been great this year.  In fact, he’s been outright frustrating to own unless you had him in your lineup the night he hit a gazillion threes.  The good news is that he’s hitting his free throws at an elite rate (94.4% at 2.9 per game) and returning late-round value while basically being invisible.  In 9-cat leagues he’s actually a top-110 guy on the year.  He has yet to hit any meaningful number of threes outside of one big game (1.2 per game) and though it doesn’t look like it he should improve in the second half of the year. 


Mo Williams lives!  And apparently so does Gerald Henderson (17 points, two threes, four rebounds, five assists, one steal), who has all of a sudden turned into a must-start guy these days.  Typically the rule of thumb with Henderson is that his stat set can’t support much fantasy value even at heavy minutes, but Henderson has peaked out with the touches and he’s hitting an elite 90.6 percent of his freebies on 4.9 attempts per game this month.  He won’t hit that many throws at that percentage or rate, but he could have a late-round floor with some continued upside as Williams gets acclimated. 


Williams is going to do Williams things now that he’s been traded to Charlotte, which means he’ll be worth owning for his points-and-assists double-doubles, despite the injury risk and games off. 




Deron Williams had an 0-for-22 shooting stretch snapped last night and he finished with 10 points, one rebound, four assists and one steal in 29 minutes.  Jarrett Jack suffered what sounds like a minor hamstring injury and until we hear otherwise it shouldn’t move the needle.  I wouldn’t drop Williams before the All Star break.  But if this continues for a few games after that?  It’s an option on the table.


Carlos Boozer went for 21 and 10 with four assists and a steal against an equally dismal team, the Nuggets, and if you need a big man he’s worth a look.  That’s as much as I could muster up to say. 




I’ve been fairly optimistic on certain Lakers assets this year (see Lin, Jeremy) and that’s been a mess.  Nick Young has been one of those late-round guys with a hint of upside that hasn’t tapped into the upside.  Last night he scored 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting with two threes and not much else, and he really played poorly. 


Byron Scott and his team have a complicated relationship, and while Young can’t do much worse and is likely to have a big night at some points – this has the potential to be a mess all year.  He and Jeremy Lin (seven points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal, five turnovers, 21 minutes) probably aren’t going to be worth the headache, and especially for Lin that’s a major disappointment this year. 


Ramon Sessions (three points, two assists) sounds like a good idea on the surface, but it’s not.  Darren Collison’s production is needed and sliding in Sessions would theoretically be a good idea, but he has been so bad this year that I’m not sure he’s allowed to look for his offense if Boogie and Rudy Gay are on the court. 


Brian Roberts didn’t get long to prove himself but the Hornets acted swiftly to bring in Mo Williams, sensing that Roberts would hold them back as they develop via a first round playoff exit.  Roberts wasn’t any good when starting so this is an obvious drop.


Aaron Bruski
Aaron Bruski has covered hoops for Rotoworld since 2008 and has competed in national fantasy sports competitions for nearly two decades. In 2015 he was named FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year. You can also find his work over at ProBasketballTalk, where he received critical acclaim for his in-depth reporting of the Kings' relocation saga. Hit him on Twitter at Aaronbruski.